The Road to Success

You know what Fleshlights are; everyone knows what they are. Maybe you don’t even know they’re called Fleshlights, but this toy isn’t new. You may not have tried one out yourself or have held one in your hands, but if you saw it, you’d know exactly what it’s used for. 

In the male sex toy industry, Fleshlight’s are old school. While vibrators and dildos were taking over the sex toy industry, Fleshlights were slowly catching steam in the background. Fleshlights have been around for a while, with its production starting in the 90s. 

Yet, even though they have a couple of decades on them, their popularity sprouted over the past couple of years. Now, they’re an integral part of solo male masturbation and long-distance relationships. But why are Fleshlights such a success among men worldwide? Well, there are four significant reasons you’re about to find out. 

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1. The Fleshlight was Invented by a Man 

Ding, ding, ding! Let’s be honest; if the Fleshlight was invented by someone without a penis, it just wouldn’t be the same. When it comes to sex toys, nothing works better than personal experience. So, how did the Fleshlight come to life? 

The inspiration for the Fleshlight began in 1995 when Steve Shubin and his wife, Kathy, became pregnant with twins. Due to the high-risk nature of their pregnancy, their doctor suggested the couple refrain from having sex. Nine months is a long time to go without sex in a relationship. 

At that point, Steve’s only option was to masturbate. It was then, he discovered there were no realistic and tasteful masturbation toys for men. His wife wasn’t excited about the idea of having a giant blow-up sex doll in their bedroom, but there weren’t many options. So, he decided to make his own sex toy. 

With the help of his sons and a $50,000 investment, he started the family business. They worked and created a material that replicated human skin. After immense trial and error, Shubin and his team realized they needed to create a subtle, compact, and easily transportable masturbation device. 

Something that could easily fit in a gym bag or glove compartment. That’s when the Fleshlight was created. Because Shubin was able to understand the needs and mentality of men, he was able to create a toy that fully catered to men. 

He told Vice, “As a man, you know this: If something doesn’t feel real, we’re not going to be excited about the physical contact with it. So that was the first priority.” This was the initial start of its success. 

But Shubin’s Fleshlight was a progressive and innovative idea for the 90s. Sex toys were seen as taboo, and the internet was a new concept which no one trusted. It wasn’t until four years after the first production of Fleshlights that Shubin started to see a profit. Even though the success of the Fleshlight didn’t happen initially, the design of the Fleshlight is why it’s so popular today; it’s versatile and subtle.  

2. Self-Care is a Social Norm

Of course, the Fleshlight was an outstanding invention but it wasn’t created at a time where society was open about intimacy and sexual health. The driving force which pushed Fleshlights to its success was largely in thanks to the shift of public opinion. Nineties’ talk and television shows focused on normalizing women’s sex toys but failed to recognize and normalize male masturbation devices. 

People couldn’t accept the Fleshlight in the same way they accepted dildos or vibrators. If anything, the idea of men masturbating was usually mocked and stigmatized, yet, the truth was and is, all men masturbate. The stigma against masturbation held on strong, making it an unspoken act that was shunned from public and private conversation. 

Naturally, stigmatizing masturbation and sex is a huge issue for the sex toy industry. How can people purchase a Fleshlight is they don’t feel comfortable? So, the sex industry, with the help of popular culture and social media, worked on de-stigmatizing male masturbation.

And educating men and women on the importance of solo-sex and intimacy. Through this, societies became more openly interested in the conversation about sex and sex toys. 

Today, rather than being seen as taboo, solo sex is now being embraced and understood as a form of self-care. In the 2019 Self-Pleasure Report, it showed that 74% of Americans use masturbation as a form of self-care. Moreso, masturbation was ranked more relieving and pleasurable than other wellness activities, with 80- 90% of Americans finding masturbation to have a positive effect on their lives. 

As a form of self-care, masturbation continued to be promoted, with more people turning to sex toys for their mental, emotional, and physical health. By focusing on celebrating sexuality, people feel free to pleasure and explore themselves. 

As men are encouraged to self-connect through masturbation and fight negative gender stereotypes, they’re experiencing more fulfilling and satisfying experiences. As revealed in the report, men are feeling the benefits of self-care and self-connection:

  • Masturbate more frequently: men who are more connected with themselves are 11 percent more likely to masturbate more than once per month. 
  • They’re more open to sex toys: Men who are more connected with themselves are more open to using sex toys by 23 percent. 
  • Improved relationships: they have a better relationship with their partner, on average, by 20 percent.
  • Positive body image and increased self-confidence: Self-connected men have an increased body image and self-confidence. 63 percent of men who are emotionally connected with themselves have higher levels of self-confidence in comparison to other men. 
  • Higher levels of happiness: self-connection in men show higher levels of happiness in comparison to other men.
  • Better overall health: self-connected men stated they have good overall health (89 percent) in comparison to other men (81 percent).
  • Have a better sex life: the quality and frequency of sex, masturbation, and orgasms are improved by 20 percent. They’re also 18 percent more sexually satisfied with their chosen partners. 

By improving self-body image and confidence, men are feeling sexually connected with themselves and open to exploring outside of the prescribed social norms. In addition, through self-connection, men can safely explore sexuality and improve their orgasms. Currently, outdated gender norms are being challenged, and change is happening as Fleshlights are being sold by the millions.

3. Twenty-first Century Fleshlights

Let’s get one thing straight. Shubin may have brought the idea of a Fleshlight to life, but it certainly didn’t end there. When it comes to modern tech, you can live-stream yourself in front of all your Instagram or Facebook followers. Send voice messages to your friends or order an Uber right from your phone. 

We’re living in the 21st century, and it’s obvious there’s no slowing down; tech has been incorporated into every facet of our lives. But where do sex toys fit in, and how are they being adapted to high-tech? 

A major success of the Fleshlight is thanks to high-tech. Companies like Kiiroo, who thought, how can we incorporate technology in the sex toy industry? This question brought the idea of teledildonics to life. High-tech is being used in every other sphere of life, yet it was greatly ignored in the sex industry. 

But in a world where we are more disconnected than ever, teledildonics plays a significant role in bringing people and their toys together. 

Tech companies such as Kiiroo use advanced technology to create interactive sex toys. Before tech, Fleshlights were only for solo-sex. But now, Fleshlights are more versatile as they’ve become an interactive toy for couples especially through the use of the Fleshlight Launch. By connecting to each other’s devices and smartphones, partners can pleasure each other, connect to virtual reality, and play games. 

Though ten years ago, you wouldn’t have thought it was possible, today it’s a different story. By incorporating high-tech in Fleshlights, users can share their experience with their partner in real-time, regardless of distance, and make solo-sex more interactive and realistic. 

When it comes to solo-sex, people want to have an experience, and Fleshlights are now able to provide them. For long-distance relationships, intimacy is one of the biggest challenges couples face; teledildonics help to bridge the gap and allow couples to be intimate from any distance. We can finally say that the sex toy industry is being revolutionized thanks to technology. 

4. Fleshlights for Solo and Long-Distance Lovers

When it comes to sex toys, we’ve come a long way. If you went back twenty years, a sex toy was considered to be a giant plastic blow-up sex doll. Not only were these toys unrealistic, but they also weren’t something you could bring home to your partner or share with them. 

Due to their lack of tastefulness and technology, men in relationships or couples who wanted to spice up their sex lives were excluded from the market. As we know, a huge factor to the Fleshlight’s success was due to the shift in societal norms and its design. 

However, what really made the Fleshlight hit mainstream success was its versatility, as it’s useable for solo-sex and long-distance relationships. So, aside from masturbation, couples are able to learn about each other and be intimate with the help of Fleshlights.

Let’s take a closer look at long-distance relationships. Back in 2015, it was reported that around 14 million people in America considered themselves to be in a long-distance relationship - that’s a lot of people. As we all know, long-distance relationships are usually frowned upon. 

That’s not because people doubt the feelings a couple has for each other, but distance lacks physical touch between partners. When it comes to communication, long-distance couples are left with the basics, either using Whatsapp or FaceTime to communicate with their partner. Though they’re able to communicate and learn about each other in that sense, there’s an important element left out: intimacy. 

And this is why many long-distance relationships don’t make it as long-term relationships. In a study by Kiiroo, it found 58% of Americans in long-term relationships stay together, with most respondents stating a lack of intimacy as the biggest challenge. The lack of intimacy is a genuine problem. 

If you’re in a long-distance relationship, what happens when you’re feeling aroused, and your partner is miles away? Your options are pretty limited. Sure, you can video chat with each other, but when it comes to intimacy, the only thing partners can do is masturbate. When you’re doing this for months on end, it can become a very lonely and uneventful experience.

“The results of this survey show that nearly half of the respondents would be interested in trying long-distance sex toys to help maintain physical intimacy,” said Toon Timmermans, CEO of Kiiroo. “By maintaining a physical connection, couples can help put some of those tensions to rest at the same time. Being physically intimate from a distance helps relationships learn more about their bodies and about each other.”

Companies like Kiiroo decided to take Fleshlights to the next level, and not only improve communication but also increase intimacy. With couples sets like the OhMiBod Fuse, couples can play with each other and control each other’s pleasure. Whether they’re living a few doors down from each other or states apart. 

These toys allow couples to maintain intimacy when the distance is a factor. At the same time, Fleshlights can be used for solo masturbation, making it a versatile toy for partners. 

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Future of the Fleshlight Shines Bright

The Fleshlight has come a long way. More importantly, the way men view themselves and sex has greatly evolved. With men now seeing sex and masturbation as a form of self-care, the need for Fleshlights is greater than ever. And it’s because of societal change and technology that the Fleshlight is where it is today. 

As men continue their path towards self-connection, and as teledildonics continue to change the sex industry, the Fleshlight continues to evolve and become a favorite solo-sex and long-distance toy. 

Not only is solo-sex becoming more sexually satisfying, thanks to the Fleshlight, but long-distance relationships are also more intimate than ever before. If anything, the future of the Fleshlight will continue to shine bright and will continue to evolve in the sex industry.  

WRITTEN BY

Natasha Ivanovic

Discover more of Natasha's Work

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